Fort Macleod residents and visitors have easy access to a little piece of paradise.
River Valley Wilderness Park and its pathway system through the rustic beauty of the Oldman River valley is open year-round for your enjoyment.
“It is an area that provides just enough development for you to be able to enjoy the natural environment,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “That park is absolutely without question one of our real treasures.”
Discussions among Fort Macleod residents that something had to be done with the Oldman River valley led to plans that began in 1989. Initial plans that included campgrounds and extensive development were soon shelved in favour of a project that would include just enough development to allow people to enjoy the river valley in its natural beauty.
“This is Fort Macleod’s way,” said Patience, who was a councillor in 1989 became involved in the planning and development of River Valley Wilderness Park. “We need to protect this area because we need future generations to see what beauty we have in the river valley.”
Today, ample parking at the start of the trail system awaits the visitor who is ready for a peaceful journey through the natural beauty of the river valley.
The pathway system is dotted with blue signposts on which descriptions of the native plants is provided. There are benches in strategic locations to provide the hiker with the chance to rest and reflect in the park’s peaceful setting, and a playground. The extensive pathway system and the gravel road that runs parallel to the Oldman River ensures that a person can take a different journey every time he or she visits River Valley Wilderness Park.
A walk along the banks of the Oldman River adjacent to River Valley Wilderness Park provides the opportunity to view an abundance of wildlife.
To find the park, follow Sixth Avenue north over the green Mackenzie bridge.